The winter cold is descending on us, and many parents have a hard time figuring out how to keep their baby safe and still warm when traveling by car. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you choose and set up a car seat that is appropriate for your little one.
The rule of thumb is that no product should be used that comes in between baby and the back of the seat as it has not been tested for safety in car seat tests.
There are many car seat covers out there that work on top of infant carriers to keep the baby warm without going under the baby. Look for a cover that has elastic to go around the seat, with a waterproof exterior and a warm interior to keep baby snug and warm when going in and out of the car.
For older children, you want to make sure that there is no bulky coat that is between them and the seat. The reasoning behind this is that during a collision the coat gets compressed, and this results in extra slack in the harness. The buckled straps need to remain tight at all times in order to restrain the child properly.
So how can you keep your child warm without compromising on safety? You can get a lightweight coat, such as one made out of fleece or suede, that will keep your child warm without the bulk. Use mittens or gloves and a hat as well, and your child will feel quite toasty.
In order to figure out if a coat is too bulky, test the harness adjustment with and without the coat. Buckle your child in the seat with the coat and adjust the straps as you normally would. Without loosening them, have your child come out and take off the coat. Buckle the child in again without tightening the straps. If there is more slack than 2 fingers’ worth under the harness by the shoulder bone, the coat is too bulky to be used with the harness.
If you have a bulky coat and you feel it’s the best way to keep your child warm, you can remove it when you get to the car and put it on backwards on top of the straps after buckling.
There are also car seat ponchos available for younger children that go over the strap in the back but keep the child covered at all times.
Here is to a safe and warm winter!